The Bills gained a 17 point lead but by time the fourth quarter rolled around, were trailing 32-17. A late rally and OT field goal however led the Bills to prevail. For the first offense, the night could not have gone much better and the defense was not that bad either. Backups proved to be a little less reliable, but that's what preseason is for.
The Bills performed well in the rushing game again. Fred Jackson starting did alright catching a break when McIntyre recovered a fumble on a 13 yard run, but Jackson did well in receiving. C.J. Spiller looked a lot more poised than in the past averaging over 5 yards a carry. Backup Bruce Hall ran well late in the game averaging 4.7 yards a carry and recording a late TD. Gailey needs to find a way to punch in the ball on the goal line though.
For the first time in a while, the Bills O-Line surrendered no sacks last night. The first line performed well in pass protection but could not push the pile at the goal line for the running backs. Although no roster changes were made from last week, Chan Gailey did rotate linemen throughout the game (I hope that RonFromNM can give some insight into how effective that was). Chris Hairston played well on both tackle positions in his first action. Overall the line did not play great, but looked a lot better from a week ago; Gailey’s shaking up the line may be a good incentive tool.
What a turnaround the offense had in this game. Ryan Fitzpatrick was perfection in the first pass going 11-12 for 169 yards and 2 touchdowns. Stevie Johnson showed he was #1 material with 4 catches for 74 yards including a 52 yard bomb from Fitz. Meanwhile, a struggling Marcus Easley showed his talent starting opposite of Stevie catching 5 passes for 51 yards and a touchdown. Tyler Thigpen meanwhile struggled throwing two picks (one returned for a TD) but also threw a late TD to send the game into OT. Separately Fitz gets an A+(+), Thigpen a D and Brown a C.
The Bills run defense did well again, particularly early on, but gave up bigger runs around the halfway mark. As Brian said, the defense is better than last year, but they still have a bit to go and need to be a bit quicker on the outside. Also, the Bills need to watch out when the QB is flushed from the pocket.
In their pass rush, the Bills were good recording 3 sacks in the game. Kyle Williams showed he was worth the contract extension with a sack OLBs Robert Eddins had another sack with Antonio Coleman and Danny Batten splitting the last. Pass rush was good but not always there without starting OLB’s present. It was interesting to see Carrington starting and he did well.
Overall the Bills secondary did well to limit the Jags aerial attack to just 158 yards and a touchdown. However in the process of doing that Reggie Corner and Drayton Florence both had interference penalties called that moved the Jags up 51 yards and subsequently score. Da’Norris Searcy shined recording an interception and forcing a fumble.
Rian Lindell was sharp going 2-2 in field goals including the OT game winner from 40 yards out. In the punting game, Moorman performed well as always nailing 2 of 3 punts in the 20, while backup punter Reid Forrest also did well. Kick and punt coverage was good. One area that the Bills could improve upon though is the return game. Da’Norris Searcy got saved by a penalty when he fumbled a punt, but he and Justin Rogers ended up fair catching a lot. Similarly Easley and Rogers had to fair catch most of the kick returns (largely due to a stupid new rule) but Easley had one decent return.
Chan Gailey made some good changes to motivate his squad early on in the game, and to then rally in the last quarter. However, for 20 minutes in the game, the Jags had their way and Gailey needs to keep his team focused throughout to have a winning record.